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After eating a nice meal with some friends at "NYNY", a restaurant in Titusville, we set up our cameras and took photos of the launch from across the Indian River. Although, a friend helped me to set up my new camera, I didn't use a tripod. Instead, I simply rested my camera atop my purse resting on a bench. It worked!
This was our view. Fire and thunder were the name of the game, as a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V booster roared away from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., at 8:48 p.m. EST. The spectacular launch, which occurred right on the opening of a 40-minute �window,� took place from the Cape�s storied Space Launch Complex (SLC)-41. Within two hours, NASA�s eleventh Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-K)�the first in a new �third generation� which will support many of the space agency�s communications and data-relay needs through the next decade�had begun the process of insertion into geosynchronous orbit, more than 20,000 miles above the Earth, and engineers are presently working through the deployment and testing of its solar arrays, antennas, and sophisticated communications payload.
In fact, TDRS-K is the most advanced satellite of its kind yet to enter space. It forms the first of three members of the new �third generation� of TDRS, the inaugural contracts for which were signed between NASA and Boeing in December 2007. Under the terms of that agreement, the aerospace giant would build the TDRS-K and L satellites, at a cost of $695 million, in order to �ensure vital operational continuity� of an on-orbit network which presently has the potential to support dozens of spacecraft, including the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope.
February 5th, 2013
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